A Tale of Two Attitudes by Jo Russell

Launching the first day of the year before sun-up with a frown, the businessman growled at the hotel desk clerk,

“Your automated wake-up call didn’t come through. Nada! Nothing! It’s a good thing I have a travel alarm, too. It’s a wonder you have running water at this place!”

“So sorry!” the clerk apologized. “I’ll check on it. We have two kinds of fresh coffee ready. Would you like some?”

“Hummph! That’s the least you can do. Do you supposed you can get me to the airport on time—or is the shuttle not working at this hour?!”

“The driver will be ready in less than five minutes.” And he was.

After a well-groomed, smiling driver loaded the businessman’s luggage, the traveler called out, “Next time, I’m staying with your competitor! You can count on it!”

The pressures of the season were evident miles away as well.

At a crowded metro post office, glum customers balanced packages that had to be postmarked before the end of the year. An octogenarian in line smiled at the opportunity to mingle with people around him. Soon he had a lively conversation going with the crowd.

During his ten minutes in line, he nodded as this one told him he’d lived in that city all his life, and that one had been raised on a farm.

“Will you marry me?” he joked with one of the thirty-something ladies. Both  laughed.

“I’m happily married,” she replied, grinning.

Without warning, the octogenarian broke out in a melodious tenor voice, “All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth, My Two Front Teeth..”  Even the postal clerks joined in.

By the third phrase, a wave of voices sang out, “My Two Front Teeth! All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth!”

Another attitude entirely – and it left a room full of stressed-out strangers chuckling.

At the end of his life, King Solomon accessed things which he had done and acquired. Much he called meaningless. But one lasting legacy of value was attitude.

“So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun.” [Ecclesiastes 8:15 NIV]

In a season known for gifts, what better one to give and receive is one of joy of life bubbling over to others? We can choose our attitudes.  Which will you choose?

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and  website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.] 

Where All Are Welcome At Dinner By Jo Russell

Grammo taught her children and family well. “No dining room is complete without a table that seats twelve,” she might have said. Though none of her twelve children grew families that large, their homes and drop-leaf tables still reflected  warmth, welcome, and hospitality to all who came.

Widowed and left with a partially-remodeled, unprofitable hotel when most people were ready to retire, Grammo moved her large dining table to the hotel. She adopted a “can do” attitude as entrepreneur, contractor supervisor, and businesswoman.  It was a piece of cake. After all, she had managed a budget, large family and home for years.

As the hotel became profitable, Grammo added more faces, warm bantering and conversation around the large dining table –some family, some friends, and some strays.  

Her granddaughter, a student nurse living in the same town, was a frequent guest. No different than today, college students were short on funds and food. Laura Jeane was one of them. One day, she asked Grammo if she and another student nurse could come to the hotel for her uncle’s birthday party and dinner. “Is it any trouble?” she worried.

Grammo laughed, “Why no, Laura Jeane, it means only two more plates for you to wash!”

Love infused Grammo, that table, and her guests at every meal.

God’s love is an antibiotic that all of us need. We have the chance to share it around our tables Thanksgiving and any time. Jesus had something to say about it. Consider these lifestyle orders: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another. ” [John 13:34 NIV].

When a neighbor approached Kathy and asked, “Can we spend Thanksgiving together? I would rather spend it with friends than family,” Kathy smiled, “Of course!”  Kathy’s kitchen would never fit a table for twelve, but every guest around the placemat-sized table knew the love of Christ through Kathy.  

May God’s love infuse your home, guests, and table – no matter how many it seats – this Thanksgiving.  

 [Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]